Published On: Wed, Oct 23rd, 2019

Bolivia Election Clash Escalates as Morales Claims Victory

President Evo Morales of Bolivia on Wednesday claimed that he won Sunday’s election by a margin wide enough to avoid a runoff, escalating a dispute over a vote marred by allegations of irregularities and violent clashes.

Mr. Morales, who has been in office since 2006, asserted that he would declare a “state of emergency” to fight back against what he characterized as a foreign-backed coup attempt.

“I want the world to know that until now we have stood by patiently to avoid violence,” he said during a news conference in La Paz, the seat of the presidency.

The outcome of the vote has been in dispute since election officials released preliminary results on Sunday night that pointed to a runoff between Mr. Morales and Carlos Mesa, a former president — only to backtrack within 24 hours. On Monday night, election officials released an updated vote tally showing that Mr. Morales was leading by more than 10 percentage points, the margin required to avoid a runoff.

Union leaders and activists called for a strike on Wednesday to protest what they regard as Mr. Morales’s attempt to steal the election.